That Dwayne De Rosario, he’s got some nerve, eh, going off to Glasgow to land a loan gig with Glasgow Celtic without so much as a nod and a wink from Toronto FC.
Who does he think he is? David Beckham? Yeeesh.
Well, right, Beckham did it on the sly, too, but did it on the sly behind the scenes, carefully crafting a loan clandestinely with AC Milan that caught MLS and the Galaxy completely by surprise and gave the league and the team no choice but to grudgingly acquiesce and gouge out a decent fee.
A fee may be forthcoming should Celtic, TFC and MLS negotiate an agreement, but nothing can eradicate how brazenly De Rosario bolted overseas on his own and left his club spluttering its humiliation and outrage. True, TFC’s four years in MLS have been marred by continual cock-ups interrupted occasionally by pratfalls; De Ro has been on board for the last three campaigns, but one would have thought he’d embarrassed his club sufficiently by pantomiming the writing of a check while celebrating a goal against San Jose, his original MLS team, a few months ago.
In 2009, TFC signed Canadian international Julian de Guzman as its first Designated Player; he earned $1,717,546 (U.S. currency) in 2010. A second DP, Mista, signed this season and pulled down $987,337, which left De Rosario ($443,750) a bit disgruntled.
Requests from De Rosario to renegotiate his MLS deal have yet to be answered, and only he knows whether this jaunt to Scotland is a bargaining ploy, a genuine attempt to force a loan and/or transfer, or merely a training exercise to prepare for the start of MLS preseason in late January.
As if TFC fans haven’t suffered enough through a revolving door of head coaches and players during the reign of Mo Johnston, now they read and hear of De Rosario’s representatives claiming that De Ro had been granted permission for the visit and TFC interim general manager Earl Cochrane refuting such claims.
As yet, “consultant” Juergen Klinsmann has yet to offer his counsel, at least publicly.
Now, if De Ro had initiated discussions of trip to Scotland, been denied permission, and went regardless, he’d still be wrong, but less wrong than he is now and with more public opinion on his side. TFC fans are surely embittered at how badly the team has been run, but few would want it so clownishly portrayed in public.
There are several ironies entangled here. A fair portion of the TFC fan base is of Scottish origin. How will their reactions be split at De Ro’s actions, hie-ing off to Scotland and leaving his club humiliated?
De Rosario is a kinetic, spectacular attacker rare in a league often devoid of sparkle. He’s been consistently productive during his MLS stints in San Jose, Houston and Toronto. He led TFC this past season with 15 goals, accounting for nearly one-half of its paltry total of 33. Those are numbers Mista (waived after the season ended) and de Guzman, not to mention Beckham, can only dream about. In MLS, as in life, compensation and performance do not always jibe.
He is used to getting his way in Toronto. Stung by De Ro’s bitter, public criticism of the artificial surface originally installed at BMO, TFC officials a year ago coughed up about $6 million to install a grass field and upgrade the facility. That was the right thing to do, yet did they empower their star to stretch his influence?
Many observers felt he crossed the line by mock-writing a check in front of the fiercely loyal but increasingly discontented fans at BMO Field. If so, he was simply being De Ro. He can be petulant, temperamental and insufferable, but he’s a competitor, a gambler, devoted to daring and sometimes outrageous means of dismantling opponents. He loves to play and hates to lose. There’s not much wrong in that.
But a player’s club, right or wrong, cannot be so disdainfully dissed by a marquee player. This situation is one big stink bomb and no matter how it turns out, TFC and De Ro may never patch it back together.